Home > Uncategorized > Turned Down an Offer to Play Myself in a Live Show

Turned Down an Offer to Play Myself in a Live Show

Several weeks ago I again got offered the chance to play myself — mild mannered Christian bookstore owner from the not-so-big city — in a live show. The event was staged at a large Christian products warehouse, and people like myself, running frantically back-and-forth between the stacks of books and the free coffee basically are used to create what’s called in marketing a buying frenzy.

For this event to work, you need warm bodies, and the more bodies you have, the more your ten or twelve key accounts — on who the event hinges — will purchase.  The payoff: You get to take home some  (but not all) of the same stuff the big guys are buying; though you don’t get the free offset product they get for their airfare and hotel.  Mind you, I’m not sure how much free product would be involved when I live only 11 km. away from the warehouse in question.

Right now, having just closed one of our stores, we should be hosting such an event.  I just don’t need one more book, though hanging out with a couple of booksellers I’ve known for years might have been nice.

Instead, we did what we often do when this event is held. We drove to Toronto and spent an hour hanging out in the religious section at Chapters.  It was our own little customized industry event. And we got to play ourselves.

  1. April 12, 2013 at 1:10 pm

    hi, will miss seeing you,

  2. rae-anne
    April 18, 2013 at 2:09 pm

    This is how I feel to all the “GREAT MARGIN” emails I get. I get so many every week from all the different suppliers that I have almost stopped ordering them. spending 100$ on supplier picked discount books or 100$ in filling up my box card area seems to now be a no brainer… I may not make as much margin on the box cards but I will probably sell more of the box cards and faster than the discount books, unless I sell the discount books at a huge mark down then I dont make even regular margins on it… This year I am struggling with signing up for supplier flyer sales as well. I was wondering how you feel about them. I find that I end up with too much product left over that costs too much to ship back all the way from BC.

    • April 18, 2013 at 6:12 pm

      Yes, and sometimes the discount books aren’t really at the best discount. That’s the whole problem, everything that doesn’t sell is marked down even further a few weeks later.

      I stopped doing the 72-hour sale because I would hand the flyer to people who would tell me they’ve already seen it. So I suggested they change the artwork periodically and was told why that was a bad idea. It did work for a time, though; and we would run do the imprinting ourselves and run it twice, the first time and an encore sale about seven weeks later. Still, it’s a lot of energy to pour into a 3-day event.

      We did the Cook coupon book twice. The mathematics of this one doesn’t really make sense. You’re paying regular price for all the products.

      We did another Cook flyer only because we got exempted from having to buy the merchandising kit. As soon as you’re paying for all those extras, your margin is quickly eroding.

      We did like the FDI Christmas flyer. We came into it late and got a limited number of flyers, so we ran it as a “preferred customer” event. But while it worked great, it created two classes of customers, and we swore we would never do that again.

      So for all that, we’re doing our third STL flyer. No CDN prices, we’ll probably do most of the books at par with the specials adjusted for CDN exchange. There’s an array or product here my customers would never see; it gives us something to hand out to people; and there isn’t the same pressure to load up on inventory. And the big bonus: The sale pricing locks in for FOUR MONTHS! We usually buy at least 1,000 flyers, but we’re doing limited distribution on this one, so with only 400 copies ordered, we’re in!

      Ultimately, at the end of each sale, if you’re trying to really serve your customers, you end up with boxes of leftovers.

      Of course, from the wholesale vantage point, that’s the whole idea.

  3. rae-anne
    April 19, 2013 at 11:55 am

    thanks for the great reply. I did all the cook sales one year then all the fdi the next. I used to love the coupon books from cook as they included lots of brand new items which I would have in stock anyways and even though I paid my regular price I got reimbursed everything I lost in the coupons so if someone gave me a 4 dollar off coupon on the new jeremy camp cd Cook would give me 4 dollars of credit.l then last year they changed it, so now I get 42% discount on the cd but that only equals an extra dollar something in savings for me and the customer gets 4 dollars off their product. so there goes a sale that was working really well for me. I have also found If i do my own sale and deep discount a bunch of books I already have in the store, some new ones and lots of overstock, and put the money into advertising I would have paid in shipping and flyers for a supplier sale I end up ahead. make less margins but get rid of stock on hand. I have also done a sale through Books for eternity where they put together a nice flyer hand out for me and I ordered a bunch of their bargain fiction and it go great response. I really should be doing that one more

    • April 19, 2013 at 12:44 pm

      Many years ago we created a template in Microsoft Publisher for a monthly flyer featuring nine large squares with featured product, our name at the bottom, and additional store news at the bottom. A tenth item ran across the top. We highlighted stock we wanted to clear out, or things purchased at places like Book Depot. It was black and white, but we scanned images for each item. Then we’d run them on colored paper. I’m wondering about binging that back, especially since we can do better graphics now.

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